DNR News: Leave no trace, summer learning fun, UP State Fair volunteering

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News Digest - Week of July 18, 2022

A young child with glasses and long blonde hair rides a bike through a campground, flashing a huge smile to the camera.

No matter where you go outdoors, make sure to always #RecreateResponsibly.

Here are just a few of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources: 

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Port Crescent perusing

Two young, blonde children frolic atop a sandy dune framed by leafless trees. A vast lake extends into the horizon in the background.

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Joey and Jessica Sancrant at Port Crescent State Park in Huron County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

DNR’s summer nature programs a fun fit for kids

A group of three children stand with a DNR guide, who points across a wetland on a sunny day.

State parks, recreation areas, fish hatcheries and visitor centers aren’t just cool places to visit, they also are amazing destinations for learning about Michigan’s natural world and history. And the park naturalists, interpreters and explorer guides are so good at what they do, all your kids will know is that they’re having fun! Here are just a few examples coming up this week:

  • 11 a.m. Friday, July 22 – Field Investigation: Monarchs! (Eddy Discovery Center at Waterloo Recreation Area, Washtenaw County). Be part of a field investigation of monarch butterflies and help naturalists collect eggs and caterpillars for the visitor center display. Visit the center’s webpage for more details, including the weekly events calendar and other helpful info.
  • 1 p.m. Friday, July 22 – Chalk Art Contest (Interlochen State Park, Grand Traverse County). Kids can create designs that promote ways to preserve area lakes and waterways. The winner in each age group gets a gift bag. Check out the weekly events calendar to see what else is happening.
  • 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 24 – Cast Away (Tawas Point State Park, Iosco County). Practice casting a fishing line with Explorer Guide Nicole, and see who can cast the farthest and who has the best aim! The weekly events calendar offers more suggestions (Outstanding Owls or Super Snakes, anyone?).

If those sound inviting, definitely see what else is offered at Michigan.gov/NaturePrograms; there is a map linking to individual locations. Throughout the summer, program schedules also will be posted in participating parks; check with campground hosts or other park staff to see what’s happening.

Though the programs are free of charge, you do need a Recreation Passport for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas.

Questions? Contact Holly Vaughn at 248-459-7917.

#RecreateResponsibly with just a few simple steps

A conservation officer stands in front of a sand dune with arms splayed wide. A red, transparent YouTube play button is overlayed atop the image.

During the pandemic, people across the country ventured outdoors in record numbers, to destinations including Michigan state parks, trails and waterways. In fact, visitation to state parks went up 30% over the past two years, with annual visitation jumping from approximately 28 million to 35 million people.

While the outdoors is an important component of many people's leisure activities and healthy lifestyles, it's just as critical that we each do our part to take care of these outdoor spaces so they are protected and here for future generations to enjoy and use.

"We've seen record numbers of both established and new visitors over the last couple years," said Jason Fleming, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division's Resources Section. "Many visitors have grown up coming to state parks and others are new to outdoor recreation. We're always excited to provide these opportunities to create new memories, but we also need everyone's help to work together to maintain these natural and historical spaces."

A new "Recreate Responsibly" video series highlights guidelines and steps people can follow to protect Michigan's woods, water and wildlife, while also keeping themselves and other visitors safe. Those tips include:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Build an inclusive outdoors.
  • Leave no trace.
  • Be a kind visitor.
  • Play it safe.

Visit Michigan.gov/RecreateResponsibly to check out the videos and learn more about getting involved. If you'd like to help promote the "Recreate Responsibly" principle and video series, consider sharing them on social media. You can also share your stewardship ideas by using the #RecreateResponsibly, #MiOutdoorIdea and #MiDNR hashtags. We'll see you outside!

Questions? Contact Stephanie Yancer, social media coordinator, at YancerS@Michigan.gov.

ICYMI: Volunteer your outdoor know-how at UP State Fair

A young child pulls the drawstring of a knocked arrow.

If you have fond memories and a love of Michigan’s outdoors, consider sharing your knowledge to inspire a new generation of outdoor adventurers and conservationists!

In case you missed it, last week we announced we are recruiting volunteers to help at the DNR’s Pocket Park during the Upper Peninsula State Fair, Aug. 15-21 in Escanaba. The 1-acre park, located off U.S. 2 within the fairgrounds, caters especially to youngsters seeking an outdoor adventure or wanting to learn an outdoor skill.

You can help kids catch and release bluegills in the U.P.-shaped pond or shoot a pellet gun or bow and arrow, staff the fire tower or greet visitors. A variety of shifts are available. Businesses, organizations, clubs and groups also can sponsor shifts and have their employees or members volunteer as a group.

Want to help? Contact Jo Ann Alexander at 906-786-2351, ext. 0 or Kristi Dahlstrom at 906-226-1331.


Horseback riding, hiking, biking and more – there's so much fun to be had on Michigan's trails. Check out the state trails page to find everything from maps to trail etiquette. Happy exploring!


Heading out to drop a line and enjoy fishing Michigan waters? Find your next favorite fishing hole, check the weekly fishing report and make sure you have your 2022 fishing license.


The natural world is full of wonders – sometimes in ways that need further understanding. Check out community science opportunities to contribute to this growing base of knowledge.

We recently launched a new website, and we’d love to hear what you think via this brief survey. Thanks for helping us improve our site for all users!